‘Major’ Category Archives

12
Aug

Hëw Nestirez – The Rën Language

by Geckat in Major

I mentioned Rën in my last post, but here is its official unveiling as a work-in-progress.

Rën is a project I am extremely passionate about, as my spiritual and philosophical exploration has been an enormous drive for me these last few months and with Rën I feel I’ve found a way to express that through conlanging.  In January of this year, I started looking more seriously into the Sikh religion as a solution to the emotional and spiritual crisis I had been feeling for months, and in March I attended a local gurdwara (Sikh temple) for the first time.  It’s since been a crucial lifeline for me and has opened up an entirely new world of thinking that I hadn’t had the opportunity to consider before.

God in Sikhi is described with incredible poetry, often as a set of apparent contradictions that, when studied and considered, create a solid idea in the mind of an ultimate being that is both transcendent and immanent in its creation, and indeed, that nothing exists, and nothing happens, that is not part of that God.  It’s a sort of idealistic monism, that everything we identify with, everything we’re attached to, and everything we interact with on a daily basis is a kind of illusion, and the truth is simply that everything is God — and as rational beings, we should seek to realize and internalize this notion.

I found this idea intensely fascinating and inspiring, and I’ve sought to create a language that removes the illusory barriers between people, between people and other creatures, and between all consciousness and the “ultimate consciousness” of reality/nature/God.  The lexeme Rën can refer to any being, including/particularly God, and is the only animate noun in the lexicon. It lacks all other animate referential pronouns, instead preferring to use morphological markers to label and refer back to persons in discourse, dropping the strange loop of the first person, and the “other-ness” of other persons.  If we look at this in a hesitantly Sapir-Whorf fashion, it would require the speaker to view all animate entities, including themselves, as interchangeable and therefore equal.

Like Taðýric, Rën is highly synthetic, and words that aren’t inflected with case can stand alone as sentences, and unlike Taðýric there is a complete dearth of particles.  Person, however, is infixed with nuclear vowels, and the elimination of a fairly large class of words means that stems can be shorter.  This should make the language appear ponderous but not long-winded.

If the nature of an individual needs to be made clear in a fashion that a noun would usually denote — for example, if the subject is a doctor, or a cat — the aspect of that individualness can be made clear with verbs.  For instance, “The doctor smokes cigarettes” might gloss as “heal.1 smoke.1” or “He heals.  He smokes.” The irony is still made clear without the other implications of doctorhood (ie education, wealth) being made explicit in the language used.  An animal may be more complicated, but still uses the same paradigm: “The cat was sleeping and then she bit my arm” could gloss to “sharp-tooth.1 claw.1 sleep.1 arm.IN Rën.2.OBL bite.IN” (in which the oblique, at this moment, works as a possessive case) or “She has sharp teeth, she has claws, she sleeps; to him there is an arm, it is bitten.” It doesn’t make the species explicit, as there are plenty of things out there with sharp teeth and claws, but it does present the creature in question in a violent manner as preamble to the event itself (although it could just as easily talk about the teeth and claws after the fact, to ditch the suspense and instead emphasize how it must have hurt!).  It also doesn’t make it explicit that it was my arm that was bitten, as the concept of “my”, of attachment in general, is foreign to Rën.

It’s a strange concept but I’m having a ton of fun with it and I hope I don’t run into too many pitfalls in working it out.

13
Dec

Taðýric Abugida

by Geckat in Conlangs, Fonts and Keyboard Layouts, Major

Taðýric finally has its own writing system.  It took me a few tries to find something I liked, but finally I realized I need some sort of aesthetic commonalities between all these glyphs.  The commonality I went with is a little radical, but none of the strokes are allowed to curve upwards.  The result is something that looks to me like a lawn of twisted grass, or to others like rows of dancing ghosts.

The abugida is something of a cross between an abugida and a syllabary, as the glyphs for syllables with /e/ and /i/ as their nuclei are slightly irregular: Rather than consistent diacritics, certain strokes in the base glyph are doubled.  I therefore needed to create both a font and a keyboard layout.

Here is the result!

This is my translation of Hávamál 93-95.  I think it was worth the hours of effort.

14
Oct

Hávamál 93-95

by Geckat in Conlangs, Fonts and Keyboard Layouts, Major, Site

I finally decided (tentatively) on a text to translate.  It has a couple different persons, some neat moods and reflexivity, various places for case or adpositions to be applied, and a little aspect (but no tense).  It also happens to just be a really nice few verses.

I’ve gone ahead and translated it, and then also typed it out in the latest version of the Sehali script.

Clipboard01

11
Jul

Zhuori

by Geckat in Conlangs, Major

I’ve been commissioned by Elmer Johnson to create a language for a novel he is intending to write.  We are collaborating on it, and thusfar it has a diphthong-heavy phonology and a relatively regular abugida.  Have a look.

6
Apr

Sehali

by Geckat in Conlangs, Major

Started another conlang tonight, because I was inspired. Time to see what happens when we have progressively assimilating secondary articulations across consonants — in three levels.  This will be another addition to my Ipakha project.

Sehali (Sehali: Sä̗hāli) [sʲaˈħaˌlˠi] is a language spoken by reptilian people of the same name. Nomadic, the Sehali are known variously as raiders, traders, and slavers, although make their home mostly in the Miuxleb Plains, controlling major tradeways between the Copper Mountains and the Great East Plateau.

3
Jul

Mantis

by Geckat in Conlangs, Major

So, I’ve been playing a lot of a game called “FTL: Faster Than Light”. It’s an indie roguelike developed by Subset Games in which you command a space vessel with a mission to deliver vital information to Federation Headquarters. You deal with ships and colonies in distress, get attacked by pirates, slip through nebulae, evade erupting supergiant stars, engage in diplomacy, hire (and lose) crew, ship systems, weaponry…all while the huge rebel fleet is only a few FTL jumps away in hot pursuit of you and your intel.

It’s hellishly difficult most of the time, especially given its roguelike status — that is, there is no saving and reloading; if your ace pilot ends up being eaten by giant alien spiders, that’s your problem to deal with. Of course, though, what I always find the most enjoyable is the lore and text, of which there is a lot. I smiled, I laughed, I furiously threw objects, and most of all I came across two words — names — that are relevant to this blog.

Urggghtnag, a hunting clan.
KazaaakplethKilik, a dreaded space pirate.

These are, as far as I’ve seen, the only instances of foreign languages in the game, and both are of the “Mantis” race: a bloodthirsty insectoid species who specialize in boarding your ship and carving up your less exoskeletal crew members in melee combat. My first reaction upon reading these names was: those are absolutely absurd.  Three A’s?  Three G’s, even?  And a capital K thrown in the middle for good measure?

My second reaction was…I can totally make this work.

So, I’ve started to make this work: The Mantis language is now in my projects wiki, in which I churn out geminates, nuclear fricatives, click consonants, and a full three levels of phonemic vocalic length.  My first goal of creating a viable translation and gloss of those two names has been met: our hunting clan is now unofficially “The Great Thorax” clan, and the most feared pirate in the sector was christened “You Will Resonate In Glory” in typical synthetic language style.  I had particular fun thinking of examples of phonemic vocalic length: zhiKik “you yell” – zhiiKik “you negotiate” – zhiiiKik “you run electricity through (something)”.  What else would you need three I’s for but electrocution?  That’s what I thought, too.

I’ll continue to work on this and Taðýric in my spare time, when I’m not grinding out half-hour poems for the amusement of my friends — or, of course, having my crew shredded by giant geminating bugs.

28
Mar

Taðýric

by Geckat in Conlangs, Major, Site

After several years of working on Mésylþo, I have decided to scrap it in favour of working on a similarly inspired but new project called Taðýric. The reason I did this was the decision that to make a language beautiful it must be natural-sounding and not just contain the elements that I find pleasing.

Taðýric’s morphology is largely the same as Mésylþo’s, but its morphemes are influenced by a relatively new phonology, particularly new phonotactics. Most importantly, plosives have been added, and more consonant clusters recognized. I’ve also added a standard for diphthongization in morpheme combining that should allow for the language to remain quite regular without compromising for strange combinations of vowels at morpheme boundaries despite the language’s large and relatively free vowel inventory.

Due to Mésylþo’s death, this site has been renamed in Taðýric, with the same meaning as it had previously. The pronunciation is [ˈɕaːʁataˌðyːʁɛθ], for those interested, and the meaning… well, I’ll leave the translation to you.

Best,